Gambling Disorders


Whether it is buying lottery tickets, scratch-offs, betting on horse races or playing the slots, gambling involves a risky investment of money or other assets. The bettor hopes to win more than they lose but the outcome of the gamble can be determined by luck, chance or skill. Some governments ban gambling while others heavily regulate it. In many cases, regulated gambling provides significant government revenue.

While some people gamble for fun, for others it can become a serious problem. If you have a gambling problem, it’s important to seek help from a trained professional. You may also find that a support group for gamblers such as Gamblers Anonymous can be helpful. Other treatment options include counselling and medications, which can be used to treat underlying mood disorders such as depression or anxiety, which can trigger or make compulsive gambling worse.

In the DSM-5, gambling disorder has been moved from the psychiatric manual to the section on behavioral addictions. This reflects research findings that suggest that it shares features with substance-related disorders in terms of clinical expression, brain origins, comorbidity and physiology. A person with a gambling disorder can benefit from treatment and support from family and friends, and from reducing risk factors by avoiding gambling venues and not using credit cards or loans. Finding other social and recreational activities can be helpful as well. Keeping track of your bankroll is also a good idea, so that you don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.